NAB 2003RF EXPRESS: RF Goes To NAB2003

Anxiety is high for NAB exhibitors, and RF suppliers are no exception. They’re concerned about NAB attendance and, equally, competitive advantage. RF manufacturers have learned that if you spell out exactly what your latest innovation is in advance of the NAB convention, competitors just might speed a new modification from the engineer’s desk to the plant in time to match the new technology. On the other hand, if the competition has nothing really new and innovative, it rethinks its own NAB literature handouts.

With that in mind, we asked for pre-NAB information from all RF manufacturers. Some responded. Some preferred to wait for our April issue, which is embargoed until the first day of the show.

Something Old, Something New

While Harris (C404) has built its reputation on a base of UHF and VHF, AM and FM transmitters, the company offers many products that have little or nothing to do with RF transmission. This corporate strategy has led Harris into making some interesting ancillary products that are RF-related, but far from the transmitter assembly line.

Notably, at the Harris booth, along with a wide range of transmitters, the company will show its NetVX one-box solution—packet-based architecture that can be configured to provide the level of functionality that previously required up to 14 separate components. This flexible remote control system supports all standard telecommunications protocols and can fit anywhere in a network.

Harris has also added ReCon, a next-generation remote control and facility management system for radio and TV transmitter sites. It’s powered by Statmon Technologies and features a highly scalable architecture. ReCon is also applicable to remote control applications or distributed management systems that link many sites to a central network manager such as the Harris Broadcast Manager.

Harris will also show the EDCi monitoring enhancement, which links the company’s TV transmitters and Z Series FM transmitters to standard Web browsers, wireless PDAs, Web-enabled cell phones, and SNMP network managers.

A New Digital Product?

With an engineering team steeped in pioneering IOT integration in TV transmitters, Ai (C958) (formerly Acrodyne) will unveil its new Quantum MSDC IOT digital television transmitter. According to the company, field-proven, de-ionized water-cooling eliminates the hazards associated with circulating oil systems.

Use of the latest generation of plug-in-style MSDC IOTs, both 3- and 5-stage, allows broadcasters "maximum flexibility" in determining optimum transmitter configurations to minimize operating costs.

Ai also notes that protection of the IOT is achieved without the use of a crowbar-type device. At the booth, company representatives will be happy to explain Ai’s Advanced Wrap Around Correction system and the expanded capability of the on-channel I-Q exciter family.

Ai will introduce another new digital product at the show, which, at press time, was still under wraps. It will also show the existing Quantum IOT lineup for analog and digital applications. Their designs are based on what Ai calls simple, elegant solutions and appropriate use of technologies. The Quantum analog rig converts to digital with a simple encoder card change in the exciter.

Included in Ai’s booth will be the Rohde & Schwarz (C653) air- and liquid-cooled LDMOS transmitters and a tabletop DTV transmitter.

A Unique Distribution Network

Axcera (C367) is the only manufacturer to implement an operational distributed transmitter (DX) network. It will be demonstrating this advanced signal distribution method, which allows the use of multiple on-channel DTV transmitters in place of a single high-power transmitter, at its booth.

According to Axcera, this approach allows the use of lower power transmitters to target population centers, improving coverage in weak signal or shadowed areas while minimizing system power consumption.

Axcera’s flagship product, the Visionary DT, will also be on display at NAB2003. It’s a full-featured IOT transmitter. The DT2B-based exciter driving LDMOS IPAs, the same technology used in Axcera’s Innovator DT series of high-power solid-state transmitters, offers broadband operation across the entire UHF band with no tuning required.

Like Ai, Axcera said it will display an exciting new product at the show. We’ll have the details in time for the April issue. The company will also show its DTVision, which is available on all Visionary DT and Innovator DT transmitters. It’s Axcera’s exclusive digital signal analysis system, designed to minimize the need for expensive DTV test equipment.

All New Design At Thales

Meanwhile, Thales Broadcast & Multimedia (C2000) will introduce what it calls the "groundbreaking Paragon MSDC IOT digital transmitter." Paragon uses Multi Segment Depressed Collector (MSDC) IOT technology, which Thales says offers unprecedented leaps in transmission efficiency—up to two times a conventional IOT and four times that of a solid-state transmitter. This translates to power bills of up to 50 and 75% less than conventional products sold for digital transmission today.

Also highlighted will be Thales’ Affinity low-power DTV solution. Affinity is available in both ATSC and DVB versions that Thales says have proven to be a cost-effective and reliable method for broadcasters to get on the air quickly while still meeting impending deadlines.
Thales will also feature its improved Optimum solid-state transmitter. Improvements include increasing its reliability and ease of use for VHF broadcasters.

No Cookie Cutter

At its booth, LARCAN (C3450) says NAB attendees can expect to see innovative broadcast solutions from "start to service."

The company will display all its broadcast and service solutions, from the ultimate M series and award-winning Magnum transmitters to its low-power transmitters, translators, and FM product lines.

LARCAN representatives at the booth will be happy to explain their company’s "customer-fit" engineering solutions. You can expect to see some innovations not covered here. More in April, along with coverage of EMCEE (C2408) and Itelco (SU4676).

Tubes Set The Stage

The most expensive investment a station can make is in its transmitter. But the time has come when tube manufacturers are delivering on long-awaited, super-efficient designs. Over a relatively short period of years, stations investing in high-power UHF transmitters with the latest tubes will find that power bill savings are making the investment a very cost-effective decision.
e2v technologies (C544) reports that taking center stage in its booth will be its extended family of EEV energy saving collector IOTs (ESCIOTs), utilizing water or oil as the collector cooling fluid.

Attendees will also see e2v’s continued commitment to its extensive range of IOTs, both build-up and plug-in, as well as more traditional klystrons. The exhibit will also demonstrate e2v’s ESC klystrons.

L3’s (C344) Constant Efficiency Amplifier tube (CEA) 130 is now shipping. The 130T and Trolley Assembly will be on display, offering power reductions by about one half compared with other electron-tube or solid-state technologies. The collector is oil-cooled, using Poly Alpha Olefin oil, which allows operation at high average powers.

"Our tubes have been through evaluation testing and qualification by leading transmitter OEMs, with the first installations slated for the first quarter of 2003," said Buzz Miklos, director of sales and marketing at L3.

Thales Electron Devices (C2725 & N1219) is introducing a new depressed-collector IOT, the TH 790 CD. It’s the most powerful of the company’s depressed-collector family, featuring 33kW DTV power and up to 55% beam efficiency.

Like the TH770 CD IOT, the 790 combines maximum simplicity and performance. It requires just two voltages for easier installation and optimum performance.

More on CPI/Eimac (C2720 & N1329) in April.


Here’s a real teaser! Look for Dielectric (C424) to introduce an all-new product at NAB2003. So secret today, it can only be covered in our April issue. Check out the booth.

Over in the Andrew (C2630) booth, on its broadband satellite side, new products will include the ACS3000 Antenna Tracking Control System, an Earth Monitor Station and control software, and the company’s Subreflector Control System.

Andrew will also show a hybrid patch panel, coaxial directional couplers, and HEL:IZX air dielectric, now available in a new 1 1/4-inch cable.

Ron Merrell is the executive editor.